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A mysterious work of art?

Lee Krystek, on his excellent website, The Museum of Unnatural Mystery, after summarizing pretty much everything from STURP to Fanti’s latest, wraps up Visiting the Fake Shroud of Turin:

Probably one of the techniques that got closest to what we see on the Shroud (and by my thinking was probably the method used by the forger, if indeed the Shroud it a forgery) was done by Jacques di Costanzo, of Marseille University Hospital, in 2005. He had a bas-relief ( a type of sculpture that stands out from the background ) created that looked like the figure on the Shroud, then draped it with wet linen. He then let it dry so it molded itself to the statue and then dabbed ferric oxide, mixed with gelatine, onto the cloth. When the cloth was allowed to dry, then pulled off and reversed, the image resembled that of the Shroud. Most importantly the result had no brush strokes. The lack of brush strokes on the Shroud of Turin is often cited as an argument for it not being painted by an artist. [See picture below]

Does it Matter?

So, is the Shroud of Turin real or fake? Just looking at the replica it struck me how much the image on it seemed to be exactly what we might expect to see down to the blood dripping out of a nail wound on the hand. I’ve observed that things in the real world are rarely that neat and tidy. It reminds me of a minister friend of mine that remarks that he doesn’t like pictures of Jesus that make him look too "clean" and unreal. To me, the Shroud looks too perfect to be authentic.

At a certain level, does it really matter if the Shroud is genuine? Even if you can prove that the Shroud was actually used to wrap a victim of crucifixion in Jerusalem in the 1st century A.D., will you ever be able to prove that the person involved was Jesus of Nazareth? The Romans were not shy about nailing people to the cross and it could be one of hundreds of victims.

And even if you prove that it was Jesus, existence of the Shroud really doesn’t prove or disprove the central tenant of Christianity, which is that Christ rose from the dead. Proponents and skeptics seem to fixate on the Shroud as evidence one way or the other of the Resurrection, but it really isn’t.

And I think the Catholic Church, which has owned the Shroud since it was gifted to them in 1983, understands this. They take no position on the authenticity of the artifact, leaving it up to the individual to decide on their own what they think.

Perhaps we should appreciate the cloth for what we know it to be: a mysterious work of art. Perhaps produced by some unknown force of nature, a cunning forger, or maybe just a clever artist.

Phys.org story on Jacques di Costanzo work.

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